Greg Abbott has made it clear: He is not using his Latina wife as some sort of "prop" to woo Latino voters, and he's outraged that a Lubbock City Council member may have suggested otherwise. Never mind that the only verification of the councilman's comment came from an anonymous source quoted by a conservative blogger. Abbott is outraged. See:
It's deeply offensive that a Democrat elected official called my Latina wife of 32 years a "prop". http://t.co/MJzjTCvSRC
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) February 28, 2014
For a politician who swears he isn't using his wife as a prop, however, Abbott sure is using her a lot like -- well, a prop.
This morning, Abbott sat down with his Blackberry and MacBook for a Facebook Q&A. (Millennials: It's like a Reddit AMA but on that social network from The Social Network.) Mostly, he fielded softballs and gave incredibly unspecific answers.
Plans for the first year in office? "I will attract more jobs, improve our schools, build more roads make our communities safer." Will he fight to protect gun rights? "I will EXPAND your gun rights in Texas!" Will he work to repeal Obamacare in Texas? "Yes."
Abbott did, however, field a couple of interesting questions about Latino outreach. He'll have to win a sizable chunk of their vote to fend off the challenge from Democrat Wendy Davis, a fact his campaign is keenly aware of, so his answers would signal his strategy
Here's one guy concerned about the GOP's future:
I don't think Texas will stay red if we don't improve our Hispanic outreach. How do you propose reaching out to the Hispanic community and helping them see that the Texas GOP is the way to go?
And here's Abbott's answer:
I reach out to the Hispanic community each morning when I hug my wife. My wife will be the first Latina First Lady in Texas. Additionally, I am taking my campaign to heavily hispanic populated areas explaining how I will grow jobs, improve schools and keep communities safe.
Here's a woman expressing a similar worry:
I'm a Hispanic conservative from the Rio Grande Valley. I just want to thank you for making me feel like I'm part of the Republican party again. What advice can you give to candidates who use divisive rhetoric when talking about immigration?
Abbott gives a similar answer:
As the husband of a Latina for 32 years I know the genuine connection between the Hispanic community and Republican values. We will talk about inclusiveness and how we are all one family -- We are TEXANS.
Surely, Abbott's Hispanic outreach strategy is more nuanced and sophisticated than repeating "Hey, my wife's Hispanic." It'd better be.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.